Noah Hawley is opening up about his canceled Star Trek movie, revealing that significant casting was in the works when Paramount Pictures pulled the plug. Hawley's take on Star Trek 4 would have featured a brand new crew and, according to composer Jeff Russo, a story that would have made fans lose their minds. Previous rumors suggested that Paramount halted the film as it was on the edge of entering production because its plot involved a pandemic. Paramount reportedly felt the story hit too close to home after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Hawley's new comments to Deadline paint a different picture. He suggests that new Paramount Pictures president Emma Watts wasn't willing to take a chance on Hawley's unproven new crew.
"We were on the runway," Hawley says. There was major casting that we were in the middle of. We had a production schedule and I was getting ready to go to Australia. And then, as you said, new management. I guess in retrospect, what surprised me is not that Emma Watts came in and said, 'Are you people crazy? This is an untested crew. This is an original idea. We don't know if this is going to work or not work,' it's that I got as far as I did under Wyck [Godfrey] and Jim [Gianopulos]. It was a really fun movie and I think it would have been a great film, but you can't control these things, so you move on."
Watts' feelings are understandable. Star Trek 4 has taken this long in development because Star Trek Beyond's underperformed at the box office, making the studio reconsider their strategy with the franchise, even after announcing the sequel. In that situation, it is no surprise that executives would want a surefire hit to revitalize the franchise, even if it doesn't make it easier for creators like Hawley.
"It's not easy," Hawley said, "and you have to allow yourself to have that process of, I won't say grieving because it's not life or death, but you do have to pour your 40 out on the ground for the movie that would have been, to really celebrate that you were excited artistically about something and now you have to, just as you were getting ready to ramp up, you have to cauterize that wound and move on."
Hawley has moved on, and he's not out of the sci-fi franchise game. He's developing a television series set in the Alien universe for FX.
As for Watts and Paramount, they have a few different Star Trek projects in the works. Star Trek: Discovery writer Kalinda Vasquez is working on one script. Paramount put another Star Trek film project unrelated to Vazquez's screenplay on its release schedule for June 2023. JJ Abrams, who directed Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, is producing both films.
Would you have liked to have seen Hawley's Star Trek movie? Let us know in the comments.